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Monday, 7 February 2011

John Reed 1903 Strike-Use of Imported Labour

In describing the strikes in the coalmines of the southern USA which
were owned by the Robber Barons of the 19th century, Rockefeller et al
he says this about a 1903 strike:

"A large part of those who are striking today were brought in as strike
breakers in the great walkout in 1903. Now in that year more than 70
percent of the miners in southern Colorado were English pseaking:
Americans, English, Scotch and Weslh. Their demands were practically
the same as the present ones. Before that every, every ten years, back
to 1884, there had been similar strikes. Militia and imported mine
guards wantonly murdered, imprisoned and deported out of the state
hundreds of miners. Two years before the 1903 strike 6,000 men were
blacklisted and beaten out of the mines, in defiance of the state law,
because they belonged to the union. Inspite of the eight hour law, no
man worked less than ten hours and when the miners went out Adjutant
General Sherman Bell of the militia suspended the right of habeas
corpus, remarking 'To hell with the Constitution!' After the strike was
broken 10,000 men found themselves blacklisted, for the operators made
a careful study of people most patient under oppression, and
deliberately imported foreigners to fill the mies, carefully massing
each mine men of different languages, who would not be able to
organise. They policed their camps with armed guards, who had the right
of trial and sentence for any crime."

( John Reed "Shaking the World"
Courteousy of TUC appointed bookseller 'Bookmarks' SWP-UK p.15)

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